Friday, April 10, 2009

Dick Cheney, Friend or Foe?

The other day I was informed that former Vice-President Dick Cheney was the greatest vice-president American ever had. Greater than John Nance Garner, Hannibal Hamlin, or John C. Calhoun.

I countered by asking if Cheney was greater than Schuyler Colfax or William A. Wheeler, or Dan Quayle? No. All the other vice-presidents were mere party flunkies or favorite sons. None had the power and winning personality of Dick Cheney. Cheney was strong regarding his convictions, even to ignoring the sitting president. He was a firm believer in taking charge even if the situation did not demand it.

Back in ancient history when, as a young man and Chief of Staff for President Gerald Ford, Cheney urged the president to be more forceful as president. Later while serving in congress, he did not see congress and the Executive as equal. It was for the president to lead. To take command and get done what should be done.

Dick Cheney had only praise when he was in congress for those involved in the Iran-Contra scandal. He wrote the minority report after the participants were proven guilty. To him they were patriots. One of the "patriots" works today for the Fox News outfit, Lt. Col. Oliver North. (I am sure he is well-know in West Texas for every office, store or bank I visit has the television tuned to Fox News.)

Back in the fall of 1986, it was revealed that for some time agents of the United States government had been running an illegal operation to sell weapons to Iran and funnel the profits to the Contras, a military organization dedicated to overthrowing the leftist government of Nicaragua.

The illegal Iran-Contra operations in 1986 found the Reagan Administration officials deliberately deceiving the Congress and the public about the these operations.

Fourteen Reagan Administration officials were charged with criminal acts. Eleven convictions and guilty pleas were entered. Several of the guilty were issued pre-trial pardons by President George H. W. Bush, as he was going out of office in 1993. These illegal activities were done with the knowledge of President Reagan, then Vice President George H. W. Bush and William Casey, head of the CIA. Unfortunately, congressmen/women chose not to impeach the guilty. As usual, they were more interested in getting re-elected.

It was this Iran-Contra affair that Congressman Dick Cheney's joint committee Minority Report chose denied any significant crime had occurred. George H. W. Bush (#41), when he became president, rewarded Dick Cheney by making him the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Talking with this man, who thought Cheney was a great vice president, began in a casual way. I wondered what he thought of Cheney's remark that America was no longer safe with him out of office. For the past month, Cheney has been showing up everywhere with speeches and opinions of how good the Bush administration was and how bad the Obama administration is. When Cheney was in office he was seldom available for interviews. Cheney still feels the war was good, "we won it," he said more than once.

The leopard cannot change his spots, nor the tiger his stripes. Neither can history be re-arranged to suit the loser. Instead of a PR campaign to revise recent history, let the historians, now and future, fill us in on what went on in the offices of the most secretive vice president in history.

I wanted to mention some recent Cheney appearances to the Cheney-believer. It would have been embarrassing to him. Like the time (October 24, 2006) when Cheney was questioned about waterboarding. To him it was not torture, his brilliant reply: "A no-brainer."

Torture, as viewed by the former vice president, is a war crime. Torture would not have been an issue had the White House listened to a few knowledgeable people. For instance, Henry Kolm, who was a part of the U.S. intelligence team that interrogated Nazi POWs during World War II. He said: "We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture."

Before the Iraq war began the world's greatest vice-president was asked (9-16-01) if there was any evidence of Saddam Hussein being involved in the September 9/11 tragedy. His reply then: "No." A year later, he (12-2-02) changed that and said: "[Saddam's] regime has had high-level contacts with al-Qaeda going back a decade." That was as wrong as the mysterious WMD fairy tale.

Beginning last month, the former vice president, along with Karl Rove, ad nauseam, have been attempting to re-write the history of the Bush (#43) White House years.

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